Posts Tagged: Risk
Some county health authorities have begun to modify local shelter-at-home orders for COVID-19 and relax restrictions on low-risk activities. To ensure that we continue to protect the health and safety of our people and our communities, UC ANR has developed UC ANR Safety Standards for Resuming In-Person Activity, Stage 2 to outline protocols for our programs and work locations.
The safety standards are informed by state, county and UC best practices, and are intended to help UC Cooperative Extension directors, Research and Extension Center directors and statewide program leaders plan for the eventual resumption of some in-person activities.
For those counties that have authorized return to in-person activity under Stage 2, UC ANR directors are now required to document their plans for in-person work activity with the ANR Emergency Response team based on the safety standards. Local plans may vary from county to county, and may change over time to be more or less restrictive as the impact of reopening unfolds.
It is important to remember that the state is allowing for the resumption of limited onsite operations. UC ANR employees and volunteers who can still work or engage remotely should continue to do so until Governor Newsom completely lifts California's stay-at-home order and UC ANR advises it is appropriate to return to in-person operations.
ANR directors contributed to the development of ANR's safety standards, and we've asked them to help address questions and concerns and to reinforce the steps being taken to provide a safe working environment.
“Throughout this process, the safety and health of ANR's employees, volunteers and clientele are the top priority as we resume in-person activities,” said Brian Oatman, director of Risk & Safety Services.
In general, ANR will be taking a slow and deliberate approach to expanding in-person activities, and most of us will continue to work remotely for the immediate future.
Several questions about resuming in-person activities were answered during the ANR town hall meeting on May 28. A recording of that town hall will be posted at https://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/All_Hands.
FAQs have been developed to address questions asked during the May 28 Town Hall meeting concerning safety measures related to COVID-19, budgetary impacts and more. Please visit http://ucanr.edu/sites/safety/files/327731.pdf to read the questions and answers.
For resources related to COVID-19, visit https://ucanr.edu/covid19.
- Identify potential exposures to harmful air quality caused by wildfire smoke (i.e. monitor Air Quality Index (AQI) forecasts and daily levels during wildfire events).
- Communicate wildfire smoke hazards, air quality conditions, protective measures, and encourage feedback from employees.
- Train employees who are reasonably anticipated to be affected by unhealthy air quality caused by wildfire smoke.
- Control harmful exposure to outdoor workers by various methods as feasible. During unhealthy air quality events, these control measures may include working indoors in a building with filtered air, limiting the duration and intensity of outdoor work, or use of a filtering respirator when other means are not effective or practical to control exposure. The standard requires that when the AQI for PM2.5 reaches 151 or higher, the employer must make respirators available for employees to use if they must work outdoors.
UC ANR Risk & Safety Services has developed guidance and training on how to comply with this new regulation at http://ucanr.edu/protectfromwildfiresmoke as well as a PowerPoint training for safety coordinators to share with employees. Risk & Safety Services is also procuring respirators that will be shipped to all ANR locations.
“Since this is a brand-new regulation, we expect that additional guidance will come out from Cal/OSHA in the next few months,” said Brian Oatman, director of Risk & Safety Services.
In addition to this Cal/OSHA standard, a team from all UC campuses and ANR has been developing a decision matrix for guiding how UC locations will respond to unhealthy air quality due to wildfire smoke. This decision matrix will include various types of activities, such as outdoor workers, volunteers, athletics, camps, and youth activities. We will share this additional information as the decision matrix is finalized.
If you have questions about the new wildfire smoke rules, please contact Brian Oatman at (530) 750-1264 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
UC ANR Risk & Safety Services has prepared Safety Note #199 PUBLIC SAFETY POWER SHUTOFFS (PSPS) to provide tips and links to additional information.
Here are the three most important things to know about public safety power shutoffs:
1. The decision and action to turn off power is made by each energy company and is based on a combination of factors, including high winds, red flag warnings, low humidity, dry vegetation serving as fuel, fire/wind threat to electric infrastructure, on-the ground observations, and overall risk to public safety. Monitor these conditions in your immediate area and be prepared to act. Visit http://prepareforpowerdown.com to learn more. Additionally, the California Public Utilities Commission has posted maps of areas they have determined to have the greatest fire threat https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/FireThreatMaps/. You can review these maps to better understand the potential fire threat at your location and other locations that you visit for research, extension or other activities.
2. Sign up for alerts! Update your personal and office location contact information with your local energy company. You can do so by contacting the company, visiting their website, or by visiting http://prepareforpowerdown.com. If you are alerted of a possible shutdown, look for more detailed information from your utility company's website or social media accounts to better understand how the shutdown may affect you. A PSPS will usually affect a specific area or neighborhood, not an entire city or county. In some cases, the utility will post maps of the affected area.
3. If your office is closed or affected due to a PSPS or other emergency, directors or office managers should notify ANR Risk & Safety Services by contacting Brian Oatman (email@example.com). If employees aren't able to work due to a natural disaster or emergency, ANR Human Resources (firstname.lastname@example.org) should also be notified so that arrangements may be made to track and report employee leave time during the emergency.
Downtown Oakland was the site of the biannual UC President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources (PAC) meeting on Aug. 9, which included a Q&A session with President Napolitano, program presentations from UC Cooperative Extension county directors Rob Bennaton and Igor Lacan, and updates from deans Helene Dillard (UC Davis), Keith Gilless (UC Berkeley) and Kathryn Uhrich (UC Riverside), as well as Executive Associate Dean John Pascoe (filling in for Dean Michael Lairmore, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine).
In her opening remarks, UC ANR Vice President Glenda Humiston introduced Mark Bell, the division's new vice provost for statewide programs and strategic initiatives. Bell spoke about the strength of the UC system, the diversity of programs offered by UC ANR statewide, and his plans to leverage the strong volunteer and staff base of programs like UC Master Gardeners and 4-H.
Humiston also offered updates on the division's strategic plan and the significant progress made in implementing its key goals. Associate Vice President Tu Tran then gave a presentation on the division's financial situation, which he titled “A Fiscal Plan for Success.” Tran addressed UC ANR's place in the state budget and its revenue projections through FY 2021-22, which includes significant growth in major gifts and fundraising.
Bennaton and Lacan both gave spirited and enthusiastic presentations that were received well. Bennaton, who serves as county director for Alameda and Contra Costa counties as well as UCCE urban agriculture advisor for the Bay Area, discussed the benefits of urban agriculture and the assortment of activities going on in community development, habitat restoration and youth programming.
Lacan, also a UCCE environmental horticulture advisor for the Bay Area and co-director in San Mateo and San Francisco counties, talked about the diverse and richly rewarding work he spearheads in urban forestry. His work currently focuses on sustainable management of urban trees and urban water.
During a Q&A period, the president engaged PAC members on various issues such as potential public-private partnerships that could involve UC ANR, targeted approaches to advocacy and deferred maintenance needs for UC writ large but also for UC ANR and its research and extension centers system, specifically.
The deans gave updates on research and activities occurring at their respective colleges and school.
The next PAC meeting is scheduled for December, also in Oakland.
Travel funds available for UCCE specialists, AES faculty to collaborate with off-campus ANR academics
ANR will be making additional travel support available for UC Cooperative Extension specialists to collaborate with ANR academics off-campus, including UCCE advisors in the counties and ANR academics at the RECs in fiscal year 2017/18.
With the level of funds available, each specialist may apply for up to $2,500 for FY 2017/18 (travel reports must be submitted within 45 days of travel, and funds must be expended by June 30, 2018). These travel funds must be utilized by the UCCE specialists only and cannot be used for out-of-state travel.
UC ANR values the work of AES faculty across the three partner campuses. As the recognized lead for the California Agriculture Experiment Station, UC ANR receives federal Hatch funds to support the AES mission and distributes those funds to the three partner campuses to manage and support AES faculty. In recognition of the importance of the partnership between UC ANR academics and AES faculty, UC ANR is expanding the travel support program to include AES faculty as part of a pilot program. Upon completion of a request, UC ANR will support travel by AES faculty to meet and work with UC ANR county-based or REC-based academics. Support is limited to $1,000 per AES faculty member with a cap on the total pool of funds available set at $25,000 for FY17-18. Additional support may be available through the campuses; AES faculty should consult their departments or colleges to determine if additional support is available. Travel support must be used by the AES faculty member for his/her own travel to plan and execute research or present research findings at meetings hosted by UC ANR academics.
Completing a short online survey is the only step to apply for these funds.
A brief survey form is accessible from your ANR Portal. The direct link is http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=18400. The survey asks
• Name and title of specialist requesting support
• Project/Program name
• Brief project description (one paragraph)
• Collaborating advisors
There is no deadline for applications for these travel funds, but they must be expended in the fiscal year 2017/18.